What does it mean to be brave? This is a question that we so often face in our lives, and everyone has a different view.
Being brave has never meant that you have no fears.
To me, it has always had something to do with your fears and how you face them.
One thing I have learned from being a photographer, a “woman in a man’s field,” and someone who is in constant search of experience, is that life’s greatest adventures come from challenging your fears.
For example: the Earth constantly teaches us to fear it. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, tropical storms – natural disasters scare us. We, as humans, fear the Earth because it makes us feel small and insignificant.
But what people do not think about is how this feeling is important.
Without this fear, you would never feel challenged. You would never have anything to overcome. Your successes would be diminished, and, in turn, you would never feel accomplished.
I used to be afraid of so many things.
Heights. Spiders. Being alone. Just to name a few.
It was not until I started challenging these impulses to be afraid that I can actually say I experienced an adventure.
To this day, when I hike, camp or find new places, there are so many times throughout the process that I feel fear.
But that pushes me.
It inspires me to be the best version of myself and to overcome.
Living life this way has changed me.
I am more confident, ambitious and outgoing than I ever was when I was a child.
As someone who still classifies herself as having a mild fear of heights, I can honestly say there is nothing in this world that is better than feeling the bone-chilling cold of the water hitting my body after jumping off a 30 foot cliff. Nothing can beat the sensation of making it up a hike on a mountain you never thought you could climb and the rush you feel looking down at everything below you. All of these adventures I come across by challenging my fears produce the most vivid memories I will ever make.
So, start small; if you are afraid of being alone, go somewhere by yourself for a day; get to know yourself like you never have before. Then make it bigger: fear of heights? Go cliff jumping. Jump out of a plane. Hike to the top of a mountain, and when you reach the highest point, stand and look over the peak.
Don’t be afraid to let the Earth make you feel small. Instead, dwell in that fear and let it make you stronger.